How to Tell if Your Potato Plant is Overwatered and What to Do

The proper amount of water is crucial for good potato harvests. How can you tell if you’re overwatering and what to do about it?

Consistency is crucial when watering potato plants. Depending on the growth phase, different amounts of water are required. While rot may result from too much water, growth might be hampered by insufficient moisture. It would be best if you didn’t water young potato plants too much or too intensely. 

In this article, we’ll go through the several warning signs and symptoms of an overwatered potato plant and what options you have to revive it.

Why Overwatering is Harmful

Basically, too much water can drown any plant. Lack of oxygen for root respiration occurs when more water is supplied than the crop requires or the soil can absorb. This reduces plant development, raises the risk of rot, and can negatively impact output and quality. Overwatering in the early part of the season might lead to malformed tubers. It increases the possibility of powdery scab and lenticel formation later in the season.

Overwatered potatoes wilt and appear unhealthy; the tubers may fracture on the inside. Overwatering on a long-term basis may seriously harm your crop, and in the worst situations, the potatoes will perish.

growing healthy potatoes planted in rows

Signs and Symptoms

1. Yellowing Leaves

The yellowing of your potato plants may signify that the soil has excessive water. Overly moist soils are a breeding ground for all sorts of problems, whether caused by excessive rainfall or overwatering.

a man holding the yellow leaves of potato

2. Wilting Leaves

Wilting happens when water begins to fill the air spaces in the soil, leading to the roots dying and diseases. The leaves start to wilt due to the injured roots’ inability to absorb water.

3. Root Rot

When soil becomes saturated as a result of overwatering, it becomes more difficult for air to penetrate the soil. Potato plants with their root systems suffocated by excessive water are likely to decay over time. The potato plants’ underground root systems will ultimately deteriorate and die, resulting in the plants’ dying and falling over.

a potato plant rotted in the dried soil

4. Blight

Phytophthora infestans is responsible for causing blight and is the pathogen that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s. The late blight is most destructive when the weather is chilly and moist. The pathogen is capable of infecting every component of the plant. 

Young lesions are fairly tiny and have the appearance of black patches that are drenched in water. These spots on the leaves will immediately become more prominent. A white mold will begin to emerge along the edges on the bottom of the leaves. 

Potato tubers that have been infected exhibit a dry, corky rot that might be brown or reddish. Tubers do not display symptoms during the early stages of infection; symptoms often manifest themselves after being stored. The fungus gives off an unpleasant odor.

green plant started to blight the leaves

How to Fix It

Placing the plant in optimal environmental conditions for water evaporation can help dry up overwatered soil. In 1 to 3 days, the extra water from overwatered ground evaporates by wind, low humidity, and warmer temperatures. 

See the advice listed below on how to dry soil that has been overwatered.

Stop Watering and Allow Time to Pass

The most obvious strategy for preventing overwatered soil and plants is to water them less often and allow the soil to dry out thoroughly between waterings. Allow time for the water to evaporate and move through the soil. 

Place Plants in a Windy Area

The evaporation process is sped up by the wind, which benefits the plants. Planting potatoes in an area that is not protected from the wind will help prevent problems caused by overwatering.

Remove Mulch From Around Plants

Mulch helps preserve moisture in the soil. Removing mulch can speed up drying the ground that has been overwatered. 

a man mulching hay in the garden

Add Organic Material

Increase the amount of organic material in the soil to increase drainage. Organic materials, like bark, add air pockets allowing moisture to flow through the soil.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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